Saturday, November 20, 2010

I'm Stopping My Gum Disease Without Flossing

Around 1999 I learned from Mountain View Family Dentistry in Mesa, AZ that I had gum disease, and I was instructed to brush, floss, and rinse with Listerine after every meal, followed by 1/2 hour without any intake. I adhered to those instructions until my next visit, when I was told my gum disease had improved. But I quickly dropped the habit soon afterward.

On April 6, 2010, I listened at Bright Now! Dental near Greenfield Road and Baseline Road in Mesa while they read the depth of my periodontal pockets. The numbers were alarming, and after the visit I asked for a copy of the chart to guide my home maintenance. There were fourteen 6-mm deep pockets and one 7-mm deep pocket!

Since I had been studying fasting for a few years and had been wanting to do a longer fast, I took this as a wakeup call do take a few special measures. 1) I went shopping and bought a Philips Sonicare toothbrush as specified by Bright Now! Dental and a Waterpik (and other items) as suggested by a Periodontal Disease Treatment guide at 2) I began emptying my fridge for a long fast.

I ended up fasting 12 days, by the end of which my acne and my ear infection had become asymptomatic. I suppose my gum disease responded similarly. I never used the antibiotics recommended by the disease treatment guide (since antibiotics are heavy stuff), but I did initially put a little bleach in my Waterpik. But for the next several months, my dental hygiene regimen consisted simply of brushing with the Philips Sonicare toothbrush and irrigating with either straight water or weak Listerine solution in the Waterpik on about 1 or 2 power before an intentional nightly fast.

So let me focus on the three elements I've been doing (2012 update, a bonus fourth element for even greater results: water swishing):

1. I've been brushing with the Philips Sonicare toothbrush before my nightly intentional fast. I haven't been using toothpaste. Occasionally (rarely) I have brushed with Listerine. I have been brushing at least as long as the Philips Sonicare lasts (it has an autostop when the alloted brushing time is over), or frequently restarting it for more brushing (though I'm sensitive to the possibility of abusive over-brushing). I generally do this at leisure, not rushed.

2. I've been irrigating with the Waterpik (classic jet or pocket tip). Normally the Waterpik has plain water in it, but a lot of times, my sons put Listerine in the reservoir, which I enjoy. I use the Waterpik on 1 or 2 power out of 10. I focus the jet on my gum line, especially between teeth, and I feel for the passage of water between my tightly packed teeth. I generally do this at leisure, not rushed.

3. I follow the brushing and water flossing (irrigating) with an intentional nightly fast. That means that after I brush and irrigate, I normally take only water or Listerine for the next 12 or more hours. In the morning, my teeth feel so clean and my breath often so fresh that I am reluctant to eat anything. I believe the intentional nightly fast is an important part of my dental hygiene as well as my general health (it gives my organs a nice rest).

On my third visit counting from the April 6 exam at Bright Now! Dental, there were no 7-mm pockets, no 6-mm pockets, only four 5-mm pockets, and 15 4-mm pockets. I look forward to finding out how I'm doing at my next exam. (December 2011 update: fifteen "4"s and one "5") I'm going to have to ask my dentist if it's still appropriate for him to be charging me for a periodontal cleaning! (December 2012 update: "no problems" and no charge for periodontal cleaning)


ruth said...

love that the internet always give you hope!

i stopped my last meal at 6 p.m. after reading this... so am giving myself a 14 hour break from food... that way.

dec 12 update please!!

Anonymous said...

Hi.. my name is Meng and i have been in alot of pain due to infections, movement of teeth due to bone and gum loss and when eating etc. i have had numerous xrays and have significant bone loss for my age. its a very scary thought that i am loosing my teeth. My dentist is very nice but he doesnt explain things properly and hasnt even mentioned any treatment to control the disease. i understand it is uncurable but i brush 2 times a day, use corsodyl mouthwash and interdental brushes but this disease seems to be progressing very fast and my gums are rapidly receeding. im so embarresed of the state of my mouth but still smile as am naturally very smiley and happy lol. am so scared of loosing teeth though, my confidence is already being knocked down by people making remarks such as "dont u brush your teeth" etc. 4 of my front teeth have been loosing and if I loosing more teeth am I going to look so ugly and everybody will look at me in disgust or laugh at me am sure. Also am worried about dental costs as am unemployed at moment so get free dental treatment but when i get a job im not sure il be able to afford dentist as well as paying to run my flat and if i have any children i need the money to bring them up on. Im also unsure as to what happens next (like i said my dentist just dishes me out with antibiotcs). can u wear partial dentures or full dentures with periodontal disease or will i be toothless forever? Sorry for waffling on but i feel like im the only person my age with this problem at such an advanced stage. So need ur help!!

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Meng, if you'd like to, you are welcome to email me via

Something is preventing your teeth from getting clean. I'm going to mention a few things and ask a few questions, and I'd like you to follow up with me. If you'll hang with me, I have faith we can get your gum disease under control.

You didn't mention flossing. Are you able to either floss or use an irrigator? I am a strong supporter of irrigators. They are much cheaper than dental care. They are much more effective and enjoyable than floss.

You didn't mention what time of day you are brushing. The general idea is to have your teeth totally clean for several hours every day so they can heal. So the most important time to clean is after your last snack of the day. Then you need to abstain from everything but water for the entire night until your breakfast.

In your case, I would very strongly suggest you practice fasting, and perhaps even a long fast that will clean up your infection. A long fast takes a lot of knowledge, but you can start by fasting 24 to 72 hours with totally clean teeth.

I don't know if you have read other posts of mine, but a great secret to tooth and gum care is swishing with plain water throughout the day.

Finally, be aware that gum disease may be related to general immunity challenges. Could you have sensitivity to some food you are eating a lot? Would fresher food or more vegetables and fruits help? Would an elimination diet help? A 20th century dentist discovered that when villages were introduced to the western diet, tooth problems invariably followed. You may want to consider more whole foods and traditionally prepared foods, and maybe fermented and cultured (probiotic) foods.

Please let me know what thoughts these ideas spur in you, and we can go from there.

R Cunningham said...

This is a reply for Meng. So sorry to hear about your difficulties. I have periodontal disease too since my 30s, and it has been up and down, had surgery. At my recent checkup my periodontist was a bit stern since I was getting worse.

I am very excited to have found 2 products making a rapid change in my oral health. My teeth are whiter and less sensitive after a couple of weeks and so, so clean. Usually I have bad calculus buildup and go to the dentist every 3 months.

Vitamin K2 drops (I use Thorne drops and ordered from AMazon. The bottle will last a long time). and an oral probiotic called BLIS M-18. The microbe was discovered in New Zealand and the product is only recently available in the US, by various manufacturers. The BLIS company in New Zealand ships worldwide, you can order direct from them. I got my BLIS M18 product at my local health food store though. Here it is on Amazon.

The probiotic is a microbe that colonizes the tongue--it was isolated from healthy humans without dental disease and is shown to inhibit the disease-causing organisms, that cause cavities and periodontal disease. It has enzymes that break down plaque and help keep the mouth pH in a favorable range.

Vitamin K2 is a fat soluble vitamin needed by the proteins that build bones and teeth, as well as protect arteries from calcification and many other processes in the body and very important to fetus developing too. It is receiving a lot of attention in Japan and Netherlands.

Many people are deficient in K2. It is found in natto, grassfed eggs and butter, and fermented foods. Supplements are widely available. There are two forms of Vitamin K2, MK7 and MK4. Both can be used at low doses with good effect, recent research shows. A few drops a day and many people report very good results on their teeth. I highly recommend the book Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox, published 2012. The reviews on Amazon are helpful. The author states that doses of MK4 are needed for effectiveness, but recent published studies show that small doses have a good effect. They were not available before the book went to press probably.

Hope this information helps someone. I am going back to my periodontist in a couple of weeks and will try to report back.

Unknown said...

Hi Tom, I have purchased all the things you suggested...still waiting on a few of them. I am so hopeful that this will help. I have lost three upper teeth already. When going to the periodontist my pocket readings were 8 & 9 on top and 1 & 2 on bottom. He suggested I pull all top teeth an go with dentures. I wanted to cry. I'm so hoping this will help me keep my remaining teeth. Thanks for posting.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Oh, Susan, that breaks my heart to hear. Yes. The WaterPik is truly an amazing piece of technology, and if you fast every night after cleaning with it as well as swish-rinsing often during the day to keep your teeth reasonably clean, I don't doubt that you will see pinker, stronger gums and shallower pockets in less than 6 months. Fasting with thoroughly clean teeth works!

Anonymous said...

I just started oil pulling a week ago, I do so after brushing my teeth using a Sonic brush (have used one for years). Should I brush again after oil pulling? Do you think it'd do any harm if I didn't? I use organic coconut oil (taste doesn't bother me). Thank you for all your info.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

I think it's probably best to brush only once, before the oil pulling. You may want to rinse with Listerine or just water after the oil pulling. I think the oil pulling will be very helpful to you, but if you can rinse and swish throughout the day after you eat anything just like you do the oil pulling, I think you will be amazed with the results.

Anonymous said...

How old were you when you were first diagnosed with gum disease? Are you still following the same protocol? I have just gotten that diagnosis and am researching alternatives to gum surgery. I have pockets at 3 mm up to 6 mm.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

In 1999 I would have been 33 years old. Now I am 48 years old.

Anonymous said...

thank you for your blog you have given me much hope.
I attended a dentist recently for what I thought was a relatively minor issue and came away with the knowledge that i have gum disease with alveolar bone loss visible in xray plus lots of deep pockets.
On the plus side this has woken me up and made me committed to healing my mouth and working on my nutrition to try to arrest and hopefully reverse the condition and improve my health.

I have been researching waterpics and although the large tank ones appear better the rechargable ones will be easier to use since I will need to run an extension cable into the bathroom to use it.

Do you think the more portable version will still work as well?

Failing that I could I guess use the bigger unit in the kitchen!

I would be really grateful for your views.

Thank you!


Thomas Gail Haws said...

Hi, Charity.

Wow. That is a hard decision. I love my full size Waterpik. Whatever you do has to be easy and fun. Unless you could feel comfie in the kitchen or with an extension cord, maybe you should try the portable in hopes you don't absolutely hate it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!

Have gone ahead and bought the portable, should b here in few days.
I feel my mouth in much better shape just swishing and oil pulling and paying extra attention to cleaning and nutrition this week.
I know its going to be a long haul and Im grateful for your healing timeframe as a reference. It helps me not get complacent!


Concertos for Haiti said...

Hi Thomas,

Thanks so much for your post, God bless you and I pray for continued improvement.

I have some gum recession in multiple teeth on the bottom, and bleeding on a canine. The recession is only at the front (lip side) of teeth, not in between. I am afraid to brush it because I have read brushing can make receding gums worse. I am doing swishing, salt water rinsing, and oil pulling. I think it has generally been helping. I do see some plaque or food particle near the gumline, and tried to get it with a toothpick, but it hurts, so I will wait for the water pick and hopefully that can get it.

Questions for you:

1). Do you put the water pic tip underneath the gum line?
2). Do you have recession at the front side/lip side of the tooth, or just in between? If so, are you able to put the water pic in that gum area?
3). Have you noticed that your gums grew back somewhat? Especially in the front?

And finally, how are you doing today?



but and have beens cram going to order the water pic. I am praying to God for healing of my gums.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Hi, Jeff.

I have been apparently healed since 2012.

Everybody is different, and you may have factors and conditions unique to your situation. But:

0) Eventually (maybe not this week) you should be able to brush once for 2 minutes daily (nightly).

1), 2) Waterpik is expensive, but I believe it's revolutionary. I believe you will be amazed. I do not insert the tip. In fact, the periodontal tip promptly broke, so I use the hard tips. I just run them slowly along all the crevices and watch in amazement as seeds etc come out into the sink. Floss can't do that! Start on low power and be careful. You don't want any pain as you irrigate. It's an irrigator, not a sandblaster.

3) Yes I had gum regrowth. I believe maybe I even had bone regrowth. See these funny videos of my mouth.

I am very blessed and healthy, thanks for asking! I hope you have success with your gums like I did.


Concertos for Haiti said...

Awesome, thanks for the reason and making your story public. I will try to remember and update the progress.

Thomas Gail Haws said...

Yes. Please do.